I’ve made the ‘usual’ smoked nuts a number of times. You know, peanuts. Walnuts. Pecans. Those things. This was my first time smoking Hazelnuts. In fact, I’d never even thought about making them until I ran across a picture someone posted of a big batch of smoked Hazelnuts. They looked so amazing I could almost smell and test them. I’ve always loved Hazelnuts, so I figured I’d love them smoked even more and I was right!
You can shell and eat these nuts just as they are. And I certainly devoured a few handfuls. But, my main reason for smoking them was to use them in recipes. First up? A smoked Hazelnut butter for baked sweet potatoes!
As you can tell from the recipe, I didn’t add anything to the nuts before I put them on my smoker. They don’t need it. No oil, no salt and pepper. Just put them on ‘au naturale’ and let them go for a while.
My goodness, me, there went my self-control again. Good thing I made two big batches of these smoked pecans because a lot of them were sacrificed in the name of ‘quality control’. The nuts are smoked just enough. There is a such thing as too much smoke on nuts. You don’t want it to be overwhelming, but you do want to still taste smoke. Otherwise, you can’t call them smoked pecans!
I used two different spice mixtures for the smoked pecans. The first batch I made a somewhat sweet, southwestern-inspired mix. It was a great balance of flavors, and one enjoyed by everyone. The second version I went a bit spicier (but not too spicy) route. It’s the same as the first mix, but with cayenne instead of cinnamon. People often shy away when they see ‘spicy’, but I found them to have just a hint of a kick and a little sweetness.
If you just finished smoking ribs, pork, whatever, on your smoker and still have some fire, smoked pecans are a great way to use up the rest of that smoke time. Never waste it, I say!
Fire up your smoke for 250 F. Use a fruit wood, such as apple, or pecan. Since the smoking time is short compared to say, smoking ribs, I recommend using extra wood to generate more smoke than you might usually.
Place the nuts in a disposable aluminum pan. Drizzle with the melted butter and stir to coat.
Combine the spice mixture ingredients and sprinkle over the nuts. Stir to coat.
Place the pan onto the smoker and smoke 60 minutes. Stir the nuts every 15 minutes.
Remove the pan from the smoker and let the nuts cool completely before serving. On the off chance you have leftovers, store them in an airtight container.
For a spicy version, substitute cayenne pepper for the cinnamon.
I could not resist when I saw beautiful, ripe red strawberries at the grocery store. As many dishes as I could use them in, my mind instantly went to creamy, yummy, delicious homemade strawberry ice cream. This ice cream is so smooth, but it also has nice little bites of crazy good strawberry. It tastes so fresh, it’s hard to stop eating it.
I often change recipes when I make them. And I often cut back on things like, oh, cream or sugar. But not when I make homemade strawberry ice cream. This is not the time to be skimpy or try to make a dish super-duper healthy. This is decadent goodness. It’s supposed to be that way.
Place the diced strawberries into a large bowl. Add the honey, sugar and lemon juice. Stir to coat then let sit on the countertop for 15-20 minutes or until the juices from the strawberries has been released. There should be a good bit of juice in the bottom of the bowl.
Use a potato masher or fork to mash the strawberry mixture until all of the larger chunks have been mashed. But don't go crazy on it if you prefer some occasional strawberry pieces in your ice cream.
Stir in the heavy cream, half and half and vanilla extract.
Transfer to your ice cream maker and process per manufacturer's instructions. Freeze overnight. Let sit at room temperature for at least 10 minutes before serving.
This is how you make a huge pistachio fan out of me. I love smoked nuts, but until now I’d never smoked pistachios before. Well, let me tell you folks! Good doesn’t even come close to describing how yummy these nuts were! I set out to smoke nuts to use in ice cream (I know, right? You know that’ll be awesome!). I doubt that half of them survived for my ice cream plans… I couldn’t help myself.
For the seasoning on my smoked pistachios I went with Sweet Red from AlbuKirky Seasonings. It has a nice sweet heat flavor to it, the perfect contrasting flavors for the nuts. I seasoned the nuts pretty liberally with it, too. Since the nuts aren’t shelled a lot of that flavor does end up on the shell. So by adding more I increased the amount of seasoning that made it’s way inside… and oh, was I ever rewarded for my efforts!
Ahhhh, the perfect drink on a hot day. This cherry limeade hit the spot and then some. A little tart and a little sweet, you can make this regular or diet. The diet version isn’t completely carbohydrate-free. For that, you can omit the lime juice and cherries and instead use diet syrups, like the ones available from Torani. They make a wide range of diet fruit (and other) flavored syrups. We love them on sno-cones too!
I recommend not storing this cherry limeade with the lime slices if you have any leftovers. The next day it’ll get mighty darned ‘limey’. Just drop the slices in when you are ready to serve, and remove them if you need to refrigerate the remainder overnight.
It’s ok if after you make this beef enchilada dip you decide to put down your tortilla chip and grab a spoon and eat it like chili. I’m not going to blame you one single bit. The enchilada sauce has that great southwestern spiciness to it. Adding some ground beef and toppings make it not only a great dip but also a great chili. I used my fire-roasted enchilada sauce when I made this beef enchilada dip. The char flavor comes thru, making the tomato sauce oh so much better. I often find myself substituting fire-roasted versions of peppers and tomatoes in recipes. Specially when the recipes call for chiles or jalapenos.
I’ve fried (and devoured) my share of deep-fried onion rings. And deep-fried pickles. And deep-fried jalapenos. These deep-fried pepper rings were different. The peppers are a bit crunchy. And they’re a bit sweet. You get that great pepper flavor, all surrounded in a great crunchy coating that sticks to each and every pepper perfectly. Great for dipping.
I absolutely loved the dipping sauce for these deep-fried pepper rings. I’m a huge fan of Old Bay. Anita doesn’t like it if it’s too strong. But she loved this sauce. It has the just the right amount of Old Bay. It’d be great for dipping much more than just these rings. Make extra and use it with chips, fries and fresh veggies.
I didn’t plant a pepper garden this year. But on what I now call “Christmas in Summer”, our neighbor brought us a big ole batch of jalapenos. I knew exactly what I was going to make because I’ve been jonesin’ for deep-fried jalapeno slices for a while. Sure, they pack a bit of heat, but honestly, they aren’t that hot. The batter is perfect, not hiding that great pepper flavor. And just in case we find a hot ring or two, we serve them with Ranch dressing for dipping and cooling.
I admit it. Just like I do with my copycat Long John Silver’s fish-and-chips, I made extra ‘crunchies’ when I made these deep-fried jalapeno slices. Ya know, the little pieces of crunchy fried batter that end up in the basket. They’re almost as good as the peppers. Almost.
I could probably eat a ton of these blackened fried shrimp. I was already badly addicted to fried shrimp. Then along came these beyond-delicious treats and my addiction somehow got worse. I didn’t even think that was possible. Yummy crunchy batter that has a great light spiciness to it. The batter isn’t too thick. It isn’t too thin. You really just can’t stop eating them.
For a little extra kick, sprinkle the shrimp with more of the seasoning just after you remove them from the hot oil. Why go thru the trouble of making the blackened seasoning from scratch? That store-bought stuff is just way too salty for me. But you’re certainly free to use it.
My two biggest food obsessions? Chicken wings and fried shrimp. I could eat either one any time, any where. I’ve never had wings or shrimp that I didn’t absolutely love. Like these Cajun fried shrimp. Lightly crunchy. Stick-to-the-shrimp batter. A little heat. Perfectly cooked.
This is shrimp done up right. I served these Cajun fried shrimp with a crazy wonderful remoulade that has ended up being a shrimp-dipping staple in our house. It’s great for fries fish, too.
For that little extra ‘something’ sprinkle the shrimp lightly with Old Bay seasoning just before serving.